Monday, November 9, 2009

Glorying in Humility

I used to wonder why some gals (no one in particular ;-)) pile their clean laundry on their bed or in a corner of their room.
What is so much more convenient about having a pile of unfolded laundry you have to dig through to find two matching socks?
ItalicWhy not just have a laundry day (like me); wash and fold it straight from the dryer (like me); fold, and put it away all on the same day (like me)? Then you could have a matching pair of socks at a moments notice (like me, of course).

"It's not so hard really (I thought) - just takes a little discipline.
You can do it...
(like me)!"

I had a system.

I had it figured out!

I had one child.

I had two, then three children.

My "laundry day" turned into "laundry twice a week", but still it worked.

I MUST be good if I can keep up such discipline even with five children!

Then there were six.
Children that is.

I am now reminding myself that I prayed for humility (I really did) and you know what happens when you ask God for something He already wants to give you?

He answers your prayer with a "Yes. O.K., You bet! " and "Thanks for askin'!"

That's what He said to me when I asked Him to make me humble - "and please not in public if You could possibly swing it Lord?"
He said "It's about time you want that virtue Analene - it would become you; so I accept the challenge!"

And He has began to chip away at my pride.
Gently, tenderly, and even privately he has been holding a mirror where I am forced to look at myself from an outside perspective, and I'm not so impressed with what Jesus sees at times.

He has been so kind not to expose me to others (or at least they are kind enough to overlook my idiocies), and because of that I want to honor Him publicly. This chipping process is just that - a process. I have no notion of being through yet.
I hope you will praise Him with me for illuminating a few things about myself through something so mundane as laundry!

My "laundry day" that turned into "twice a week laundry" is now:

"dirty-laundry-into-the-washer-clean-laundry-out-of-the-dryer-piled-in-buckets-in-the-laundry-room-all-week-until-I-need-clean-underwear... season"

I thought I was good. I thought rather too highly of my abilities, and of myself.
What I discovered (and this is key to a paradigm in my thinking) is that I had not yet met my maximum capacity.

Where one woman is "maxed out" with two children and her laundry gets piled indefinitely,
I am "maxed out" with six and MY laundry is now piled indefinitely.

Now, I'm not either excusing myself (because I believe I can train myself and the children to be efficient with the laundry if I choose to make that important in this season of my life),
nor am I saying I shouldn't have any more children because I have discovered my limitations.
What I am saying, is that I now have proper humility because of my inadequacy, and a rightly placed appreciation for any woman who piles her laundry if it's piled because in her life people are more important.

  • In order for me to read a book with my little girls, I must let some other thing go (cleaning my bathroom sink, for instance).
  • Or to give the boys my attention when they have a Math question, I've sometimes got to leave other things undone (sweeping and vacuuming the floor).
  • If I want to lay down next to my baby so I can win his smiles and wile his coos, I have to be willing to be an imperfect housekeeper.

...But not an imperfect homemaker.

It's the hearts of my children I should be after, right?
Not a drawer full of matching socks.

are what make a home.
A clean bathroom is simply a part of a house.

I think I might find another groove. One that allows me to play with my children AND put some laundry away.

But it is a very very good lesson for me to learn that I was not so amazing when my house was in less chaos. I was simply acting within my realm of comfort. I was doing what came natural.

Today laundry doesn't come so "naturally".
(Nor for that matter, making dinner. Nor wiping down the kitchen counter. Nor putting the book back on the shelf where it belongs.)

Nope. Now I have to work at it; and what do I find?
That even when it's when it's work, I can get it done.
However it is often at the expense of a more precious thing -
the people I am charged with loving.

It is no matter of pride to have a perfectly ordered house with tidy drawers full of folded clothes and matched socks, if I lose valuable and limited time in which to gather my children, win their hearts, and attract them to a real Savior who loves them.

If I can learn to make THAT the priority, I might actually discover some amount of glory in a room full of unfolded laundry.

Keep loving me Lord. Humble away!


Jess said...

Amen to that! In the meantime, I am praying I get a laundry where I can implement a system like she has on this blog:

and looking forward to the day when the kids can reach the clothes line!

pam said...

And for what it's worth, in another season down the road, you will have a house full of big helpers who put in loads, transfer, fold and put away! Glory!

JENNIFER said...

No clean, folded undies for the kiddies? Now thats neglectful!!!
Ha-ha, just kidding.
Wait till the boys get even older, than the bathroom is even messier and so is their room.
Of course, when your children color on the walls, furniture and pets (like mine) then, thats a different story :)

petersonclan said...

God has an amazing way of chipping away our pride, doesn't He? But what a wonderful lesson... people are more important than- well- anything. :) Good job Mama. Go ignore your laundry and snuggle that baby.

Tammy (Mom to this crazy bunch) said...

Ouch... thanks for the reminder... I needed it!

Kimberly said...

Just four months ago, I told my husband that I think I have finally grown up because I am getting really good at washing, folding AND putting away all this laundry from our household of nine. Enter baby #8... just this week I sad, "Honey, now I remember why most of my married life I have had that ever growing pile of laundry in our room. I am either holding a baby or the toddler that needs to be held and cuddled since the baby is asleep, not to mention the three other little ones asking for help on school projects or big ones that need a deep talk with momma!" Yes, Analene, I have resolved that someday, the laundry will find it's home, but today, I'm looking for socks!
Love you, Kimberly B.

2homeschool said...

Oh, you make me smile!

2homeschool said...

Ps. A basket just for socks is helpful. When looking through any pile everyone is trained to throw all socks in that basket. Plus I buy Anna socks with purple toes so that anyone can find her socks for me. :-) (seeing she's the only one who can't find her own... You might have to have multiple color schemes.) :-)

Anonymous said...

How encouraging it was to read your post this evening! I needed a reminder this week that keeping my boys' "tanks" full is far more important than keeping my house spotless (have been feeling somewhat inept on the housekeeping end of my help-meet duties lately). You are so right; God is so loving to humble us gently and insist that we need Him and cannot rely on our strength alone. :-)

I am blessed! said...

Hi I found you through Tara at Too Many Kids in the Bathtub. I love that you describe yourself as adopted into God's family. I've been posting a series on adoption lately and have loved studying the theology of adoption. God is so good!

princessmama said...

Dear friend, thank you so much for your honesty :)

What if with "only" two children one could conceivably keep up with the laundry and dishes, but one prefers cooking(making more dirty dishes!) and photography to those more necessary pursuits??? I need to work on balance of a different sort you see :D

Love you,

Photo Momma said...

What a wonderful post. I struggle constantly with trying to keep my mind on what is most important- investing in the lives of my children and husband or keeping up the image of having it all together (which is a pride thing and I am so far from where my pride would like things to be). Thanks for the reminder!